Volkswagen wants to be a digital company

March 01, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the Geneva Motor Show, carmaker Volkswagen has highlighted the significance of digital technologies for the future of the company. Johann Jungwirth who as recently as past November moved from Apple to Volkswagen where he now acts as Chief Digital Officer had his first grand appearance.

In a presentation held at the Geneva Motor Show, Jungwirth said Volkswagen will change its profile towards being a software and services group – much like VW subsidiary Audi did a couple of days ago . Jungwirth said that Volkswagen has the competitive edge of mastering the automotive hardware. “I am firmly convinced we will become a leading mobility provider by 2025”, he said.


At the show Volkswagen also announced the creation of three new “Future Centres” – one each in Europe, Asia and the U.S., with the latter one being headquartered in California. In these centres, car designers, software developers and digitisation experts will jointly build the car of the future. In this context, the company announced to mesh vehicle design and digitisation more tightly, with focus on customer experience, HMI design, operating logic, interior design and infotainment. The European Future Centre, located in Potsdam near Berlin, is already operative while the exact location for the centres in California and Asia has yet to be determined.


At the same opportunity, the company drew a positive balance of its position in electromobility. Currently Volkswagen has nine battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in its catalogue. Within the four years to come, 20 new models will enter series production, announced CEO Matthias Müller. Within the same time frame, driving ranges of more than 500 km (370 miles) are “feasible”, the top executive said. By the same token, charging times will be reduced to “the same time span as needed for a coffee break.” Plus, in the long run, electric vehicles will be cheaper than those with an internal combustion engine inside. Müller on this occasion called for a joint effort of economy and politics to establish an extensive charging infrastructure.


Müller also responded to the ongoing discussion about the exhaust gas software affair (Müller used the term “exhaust gas topic”), without however going much into details. The callback